U.S., Canada get global drug ring


EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick (AP) – Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies have broken up a drug ring that took advantage of the porous border to sneak drugs from New Brunswick into Maine, officials said Thursday.

Thirteen people face trafficking charges as a result of an 18-month investigation, said Staff Sgt. Gary LeGresley of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The smugglers were moving at least 5 tons of drugs a year across isolated sections of the border between New Brunswick and Maine.

The New Brunswick-to-Maine route proved to be a major conduit for trafficking drugs including marijuana, methamphetamines and ecstasy to big markets in the northeastern United States, LeGresley said.

The international smuggling ring has been in operation for at least three years, he said.

During the summer, the New Brunswickers involved in the operation would transport drugs by boat across waterways on the border between Maine and New Brunswick.

In the winter, the traffickers used snowmobiles and four-wheel vehicles, he said.

The presence of methamphetamine tipped police to the likely involvement of Quebec biker gangs, LeGresley said. The drugs were made in clandestine laboratories in Quebec.

In addition to drugs, police also have seized hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Eleven people were in custody in Canada – seven from Quebec and four from New Brunswick, LeGresley said. Also, one Canadian was in custody in the United States and at least one U.S. citizen charged, he said.

LeGresley said that although the arrests are a major coup for the police, it would be naive to believe the problem has been solved. “Other groups are attempting to do or are doing the same thing,” he said.